You may remember these two young ladies: And you may remember also the block I had when it came to writing the next post in my Incredible Irish Women series, and how I was given to believe that… Read More
There was no way I was not going in. The mouth of the cave gaped at me, and I watched in trepidation as it swallowed first Treasa, then two more of my companions, and then I plunged in. Now or never.
The old festivals seem to me to fit perfectly into the cycle of seasons and the passing of the year. And also with the ebb and flow of my blood, or the beating of my heart, or my body clock, whatever you want to call that natural instinctual internal part of oneself. You may try and suppress it, but it’s always still there. If you feel the same, here are some places in Ireland that are associated with Samhain which you might like to visit: Tlachtga, the Mound of Hostages at Tara; Magh Slecht, and Oweynagat.
I love bogs. Not only do they provide us with sweet-smelling turf for burning over the winter, which keeps us so warm and cosy and drowsy, but they hide extraordinary secrets which they allow us to find, now… Read More
Curadmír comes from the old Irish word curad which means ‘of a hero/ champion/ warrior’, and also from the word mir which means ‘morsel/ ration/ portion’.
In Irish mythology, the champion’s portion was all about honour amongst warriors. We already know that in ancient Ireland people lived by a defined code of honour and this was certainly true of the warrior class.
Irish mythology is riddled with powerful women, yet they are quite an enigma. On the one hand, we have feisty Queens like Medb,and fearsome Goddesses like the Morrigan. On the other, we have the helpless heroines such as Etain, Deirdre, and Grainne, who seemingly did little but lure men with their beauty into tragedy and catastrophe. But ancient Ireland also had its fair share of warrior women, and some of them were quite kickass!
This act of looking into the future and chanting or reciting prophecy in the form of poetry is called Imbas Forosnai (imbas meaning ‘inspiration’, in particular the sacred poetic inspiration of the ancient Filidh, and forosnai meaning ‘illuminating’ or ‘that which illuminates’).
Irish mythology is awash with geisa, almost every hero being afflicted by at least one, if not more. At first glance, they seem little more than a sprinkling of magical spice to add a little extra drama to a story: if the hero violates his geis, he suffers dishonour and maybe even death.
However, a closer look yields a slightly different concept behind the use of the geis in Irish myth and legend.
“The menu for this evening is pasta or chicken nuggets and chips,” I announced, smiling smugly to myself. Two ten year old boys in the house; it was obvious what they’d choose. “Pasta!” they both chorused, much to… Read More